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Do MBA Admissions Events Like a Pro

by Stacy Blackman Consulting, Jan 23, 2024

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the MBA admissions journey is learning all you can about each business school. Once you’ve exhausted all the intel you can find on the schools’ websites, your next steps are to attend MBA admissions events in person and online.

As you set out to impress the AdCom and secure a spot in your dream B-school, be sure to approach both virtual and in-person MBA admissions events with finesse and enthusiasm. Here’s a guide on effectively engaging with committee members while steering clear of potential red flags that could hurt your application.

Navigate In-Person MBA Admissions Events with Grace

Thankfully, most business schools have returned to hosting events on campus or on the road. In-person admissions events offer a unique chance to connect face-to-face with committee members. When done well, these encounters can leave a lasting positive impression on the folks who will one day read your MBA application. So, bring your A-game in terms of interpersonal skills.

Dressing professionally for in-person events is a must. Your attire reflects your respect for the occasion and understanding of an MBA program's professional environment. Also, come ready with a brief and compelling introduction.

Your MBA elevator pitch should highlight your professional background, achievements, and why you're passionate about pursuing an MBA. Practice it beforehand to ensure coherence, but avoid sounding scripted or overemphasizing achievements in a way that comes across as boastful.

When chatting with members of the AdCom, make sure your keen interest in their program comes through. Admissions officers remember and appreciate applicants who have taken the time to research and understand what makes their institution special. Showcase your knowledge about the school’s unique offerings and explain how they’ll help you achieve your career goals. Avoid generic statements that signal a lack of understanding about the specific features that set the program apart.

A recent Michigan Ross School MBA admissions blog post on the subject advises attendees, “Let the conversation flow naturally and weave in your stories where appropriate.”

“We can always recognize genuine passion when we encounter it,” notes Lysa Wang, the Ross School’s associate director of full-time MBA admissions. “Let your true self shine, making our interaction not just informative but genuinely memorable.”

Embrace Virtual Admissions Events with Enthusiasm

Attending online admissions events has become the norm in an era dominated by virtual interactions. While the setting may differ, the importance of making a positive impression remains the same.

Begin by perfecting your "virtual handshake"—the online equivalent of a firm, confident introduction. Ensure your camera and microphone are in working order, dress professionally, and choose a quiet, well-lit space for virtual meetings. A solid first impression is just as crucial in the virtual realm.

Aim to be an active participant during webinars. Engage by asking insightful questions in the chat, participating in polls, and expressing genuine interest in the discussions. Just don't hog the spotlight. Avoid dominating the conversation or asking questions that reflect a lack of basic research about the program.

"Your questions will make you stand out when you focus on your specific interest in Michigan Ross," notes Associate Director Wang. "What courses spark your curiosity? Which clubs, initiatives, or competitions align with your passions? Are there any professors you're excited to learn from?"

"By asking about the specific resources that resonate with you, you're not just expressing interest; you're showing genuine dedication to pursuing an MBA and your search for a program that aligns with your aspirations."

Striking the Right Balance

As you navigate both virtual and in-person interactions, remember to strike a balance between professionalism and authenticity. Regardless of the format, the admissions committee seeks applicants with academic aptitude who fit seamlessly into the school's culture.

Follow Up Appropriately:

After any virtual or in-person event:

  • Send a polite thank-you email to express gratitude for the opportunity to connect.
  • Reference specific points from your conversation to personalize your message and reiterate your enthusiasm for the program.
  • Avoid red flags by ensuring your follow-up is genuine and not overly persistent.

Engaging with the MBA admissions committee during virtual and in-person events requires a thoughtful approach. By actively participating in webinars, navigating in-person events gracefully, and striking the right balance between professionalism and authenticity, you'll set yourself on a path to success while steering clear of potential red flags that could hinder your application.

Remember, these interactions are all about showcasing your qualifications, building connections, and aligning yourself with the values of the MBA program you aspire to join.

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Stacy Blackman Consulting is the only MBA admissions firm with a complete panel of former Admissions Officers from every M7 program and the elite European MBA programs. We offer multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership to hourly help with essay editing, interview prep, and MBA resume review. Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.